Scenes From T-Mobile's G1 Launch

T-Mobile and Google teamed up Wednesday to release the very first smartphone built on Google's open-source Android handset platform, the T-Mobile G1, at T-Mobile retail stores around the United States. A special pre-launch event in San Francisco Tuesday evening meant some lucky customers got their hands on a G1 even earlier.

T-Mobile, headquartered in Bellevue, Wash., officially launched the G1 at its retail stores in 95 cities across the U.S. Wednesday, many of which opened early at 8 a.m. for the release of the $179 handset. As many as 1.5 million existing T-Mobile customers have reportedly pre-ordered the devices.

For one night only, a couple hundred T-Mobile customers who lined up outside the telecom provider's store at Market and 3rd streets in downtown San Francisco on Tuesday evening had the opportunity to have the 3G-enabled smartphone all to themselves.

Street performers entertain the crowd at T-Mobile's San Francisco pre-launch event Tuesday evening.

Boxes of T-Mobile G1 phones await the first customers just minutes before the pre-launch event begins in San Francisco. The new smartphone, 4.6 inches by 0.6 inches and weighing 5.6 ounces, has a 3.2-inch HVGA touchscreen but also sports a QWERTY keyboard, unlike Apple's iPhone. It features a 3.2 megapixel camera and a microSD card slot.

The crowd pours into T-Mobile's San Francisco store as the ribbon is cut at 6 p.m., PT for the official pre-launch of the Android-powered T-Mobile G1.

T-Mobile G1 phones await their very first owners. In addition to T-Mobile's 3G network, the G1 has built-in support for the telecom's Edge network, as well as WiFi and GPS.

Christopher Laddise of San Francisco becomes the very first private owner of a T-Mobile G1, unwrapping the first smartphone running Google's open-source Android software platform to wild applause at a special pre-launch event in the City by the Bay.

Outside the T-Mobile store, jugglers, unicyclists, stilt-walkers and clowns continue to entertain the crowd as the first G1 handsets are being sold inside.

Charles Register of San Francisco discusses coverage plans for his new G1 with a T-Mobile sales rep. The T-Mobile G1 costs $179 and is available with a two-year voice and data agreement. Register says his G1 purchase wasn't planned out far in advance -- he'd lost his phone the day before and was simply looking for a replacement.

David, another San Francisco resident, gets busy with his new T-Mobile G1. The phone features full support for Web-based services from Mountain View, Calif.-based Google, including popular apps like Gmail and Google Maps, and the G1's full HTML Web browser is already winning rave reviews.

Wednesday's T-Mobile G1 launch in Framingham, Mass. wasn't quite as lively as the San Francisco pre-launch event. In fact, no crowds at all formed outside the Framingham, Mass. T-Mobile store as it was set to start selling the T-Mobile G1.

T-Mobile had a handful of G1s lined up and ready to go at its Framingham store for potential buyers to get their mitts on the coveted open source smart phone. Inside the store, only a handful of customers were waiting for the device.

Signage at the T-Mobile store in Framingham advertises the launch of the G1. While a T-Mobile employee wouldn't say exactly how many G1s the store had on hand, he said there were more than enough to last through the day, if not longer.

One of the first buyers in Framingham to get his hands on the T-Mobile G1 couldn't wait to get home before sliding open the device to see what it could do.